Welcome to the latest installment of our “Great question!” series. In this series, we address common questions about TerraCycle and our recycling solutions. 

I joined a free recycling program—now what?
Great question! 

You’ve made your TerraCycle account, found a free recycling program you want to participate in, and clicked the “Join” button. Here’s what happens next.

These next steps also apply if you’ve been on a program waitlist and have been notified that you are now an active participant of the program.

  1. Start collecting

Once you’ve joined a program or have been notified that you were un-waitlisted, you are “active” and can officially start collecting trash to send in for recycling. (Hint: You’ll know you’ve officially joined a program when it is marked “Active” under “My programs” in your profile. If you are on the waitlist for a program, it will be marked “Waitlist.”)

If you haven’t already, read the program web page carefully so you know exactly what is and is not accepted. Then, start collecting the accepted items in a spare shipping box or receptacle. 

  1. Print your free shipping label

As your box fills up, log in to your TerraCycle account and visit your profile to download a prepaid shipping label. All you’ve got to do is click “Get shipping label,” and we’ll send one to your email. 

  1. Seal your box and drop it off

Tape up your box or receptacle, attach the free shipping label, and drop your box at the shipping service indicated on the label. Just like that, your trash is on its way to us for recycling!

Read important shipping information here.

Remember that you can join as many free recycling programs as you’d like! And if you’d like to #RecycleEverything, browse our selection of Zero Waste Boxes.

What about Zero Waste Boxes?

Sending in your trash through our free recycling programs is easy, but it’s even easier when you purchase a Zero Waste Box™! That’s because your Zero Waste Box will arrive at your address with a prepaid return shipping label already attached. Just fill it, seal it up, and drop it off at the shipping service indicated on the label.

What happens to the trash?

We’re glad you asked! Once we receive your trash, we separate it by material type and clean it. Then it’s processed depending on material type. Plastics are shredded or ground and then melted and reformatted into pellets. Metals are smelted into metal sheeting, ingots, or bar stock. Glass is crushed and melted to be used in new bottles or other applications. Organics are composted.

Learn more about our recycling process.

Still have questions? Visit the TerraCycle Help Center for more answers or to contact us directly. We’re always here to help.

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